Nova Scotia

Dark sky watchers lament Keji's winter closure

Members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada say the winter closure of Kejimkujik National Park is a big disappointment for sky watchers who are attracted to the park because of its status as a dark sky preserve.
Kejimkujik National Park was designated a dark sky preserve in 2010. (CBC)

Members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada say the winter closure of Kejimkujik National Park is a big disappointment for sky watchers who are attracted to the park because of its status as a dark sky preserve.

"The more brilliant stars in the sky, actually, are in the winter," said David Chapman, with the Halifax chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

"The winter sky is a beautiful sight and the stars just sparkle."

Kejimkujik National Park, in southwestern Nova Scotia, became the first area in the province to be given the designation by the society two years ago.

According to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, a dark sky preserve is a site with "very dark skies and virtually no sky glow on the horizon." There are at least 10 such designated sites in Canada.

In an effort to offset federal budget cuts, Kejimkujik National Park — previously open for camping all-year round — is now closed to camping until the Victoria Day long weekend in May.

Chapman said part of the deal in getting Kejimkujik designated a dark sky preserve was that an observation point would be accessible all year.

"That was an important part of the proposal," he told CBC News.

"Clearly we would like to see access restored."

Chapman said members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will continue to work with Parks Canada staff on education and other programs when Kejimkujik reopens in the spring.

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